Shooting Death of 5-Month-Old Baby Amplifies Violent 2015

click to enlarge Police Chief Calvin Williams sheds tears as he discusses the recent shootings in Cleveland. - WEWS STILL
Police Chief Calvin Williams sheds tears as he discusses the recent shootings in Cleveland.
The death of 5-month-old Aavielle Wakefield this week follows a disturbing trend of young children being shot and killed on Cleveland's eastside. 

The Cleveland Division of Police has not yet identified any leads in this case. "We are getting tips in, and our officers are following up," Chief Calvin Williams said. "But we need more. Our community needs to step forward."

There were four people riding in a car on East 143rd Street yesterday, Williams said, and Wakefield was shot in her chest. Williams said the presumed target(s) of the gunfire remain unknown. 

Williams updated the city on several additional shootings that contributed to September being Cleveland's most violent month of 2015 yet:

- Two suspects have been arrested and indicted in the shooting death of 5-year-old Ramon Burnett.

- An arrest warrant remains on the books for 22-year-old Donnell "Nell" Lindsey, who is still at large and is wanted in the shooting death of 3-year-old Major Howard.

- There are no credible leads in the murder of Donta Padgett Sr. and the shooting of Donta Padgett Jr.

- Arrest warrants have been issued for four individuals connected to the shooting deaths of Dexter "Deck" Mangham and Sidney Smith; Williams declined to name the suspects.

"We need people that are actually going to do things," Williams said. "We need people out there in the community that are concerned with black lives, brown lives, white lives purple lives... We need people to do something."

Mayor Frank Jackson later drew a cultural connection between these recent murders in Cleveland and the community college shooting in Oregon yesterday. "We have a problem," Jackson said. "We're going to address that problem. We're going to make sure that the people of the city of Cleveland know that they're safe — and if they help us, we want to enable them and empower them to control their community..."

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty announced a $25,000 reward for any information that leads to the arrest of anyone involved with the shootings of Wakefield and/or Mangham and Smith. 

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Eric Sandy

Eric Sandy is an award-winning Cleveland-based journalist. For a while, he was the managing editor of Scene. He now contributes jam band features every now and then.
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